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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Bone, Muscle and Joint Disorders Ligament tears

Ligament tears

A ligament is a short band of tough flexible fibrous connective tissue linking bones together providing stability to the surrounding structures like joints during the movements. Sprain is a common expression used to describe a ligament injury. A ligament injury can be either due to stretching or tearing of the ligament.


Sprain is a common expression used to describe a ligament injury. A ligament injury can be either due to stretching or tearing of the ligament.

Ligament injury can be classified into degree

Grade 1 - Microscopic tears- only few fibers of ligament are torn.

Grade 2 - Partial tears – a more prominent injury when more no of fibers are torn.

Grade 3 - Complete tears – when all the fibers are torn that is the complete ligament is torn.



  • Painful joints on movement
  • Pain to touch
  • Swelling and discoloration if any bleeding due to injury


What are the causes for sprains or ligament tears

To be simple any injury to the ligament is caused by an extensive stress or sheering force that is beyond the capacity of the ligament to withstand.

For example a ligament injury of ankle or knee can occur as a result of walking on an uneven surface (twisting the ankle) or more commonly in athletes due to misjudging a jump or step etc.

Risk factors for ligament tear

Failure to follow simple steps like a good warm up before exercising, or failure to understand simple mechanisms of reducing stress to the ligaments like during running jogging etc increases the risk substantially.

When to consult a doctor for sprain


  • A very sprain – an immediate medical attention is a must in order to prevent further damage to the surrounding structures.

  • Inability to use the joint around the injured ligament any pain while using a joint indicates a ligament injury and necessitates medical attention.

  • Inability to bear weight on the joint around the injured ligament – can indicate a severe injury and needs urgent attention.


What are the investigations and tests that help in sprain?

X-ray of the involved joint is usually the first investigation of choice in a case of sprain to rule fracture.

MRI is the second investigation of choice to check for any soft tissue injuries and also the extent of injury.

What is the treatment of choice in sprains?

For mild cases of sprains – self care and over the counter anti pain medicaments are sufficient

Also for prompt immediate relief apply ice packs as soon as possible to the painful area.

For a more severe case of sprain or ligament injury complete bed rest mat be needed and also the injured area may be immobilized in order to provide some rest and promote healing of the injured organ.

In some sever cases like a 3rd degree injury or complete separation of the ligaments a surgery may be required.

What are the immediate home remedies that can be done for sprains?

  • Immobilize the area
  • Complete bed rest
  • Cold compresses with ice packs
  • A compressive crape bandage to reduce the swelling.